New Chicago CARES Collaboration Launched to Combat Diabetes Disparities Through Five-Year, $6 Million CDC Award

The Illinois Public Health Institute (IPHI) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are joining forces with nearly two dozen community partners to launch a new initiative in Chicago that aims to reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities in diabetes outcomes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is awarding approximately $6 million over five years to IPHI to support the Chicago Collaboration to Advance Reach, Equity, and Systems (Chicago CARES) to Prevent Diabetes, a multi-sector effort to expand access to evidence-based diabetes prevention programs and telehealth diabetic retinopathy screening in Chicago community areas that have a disproportionate diabetes burden and lack sufficient preventive services.

Chicago CARES will support residents with prediabetes in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, expand access to crucial preventive services, and strengthen training programs and technical infrastructure for chronic disease management in Chicago neighborhoods that face the greatest health disparities – all of which are key citywide priorities outlined in CDPH’s Healthy Chicago 2.0 Plan. The collaboration also builds on IPHI’s eight-year leadership of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity, which works to improve nutrition and promote physical activity in Illinois through policy, systems, and environmental change with a health equity lens.

Core Strategies

Chicago CARES will support the development, expansion, and sustainability of programs to prevent diabetes in Chicago using the following strategies:

  • Increase the number of CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) providers and in Chicago by training and supporting healthcare safety net providers and community health workers to offer the program
  • Develop health information technology and administrative systems to support expansion of the DPP in Chicago
  • Conduct robust, culturally tailored grassroots messaging and communications to increase awareness of prediabetes and diabetes prevention programs
  • Support health care practices in screening for prediabetes and diabetes and establishing or expanding use of telehealth technology to increase access to diabetic retinopathy screening for those with diabetes

Collaborative Partners

The program will be implemented by a collaboration that includes safety net health care providers, community health workers, nationally recognized diabetes prevention researchers, and experts in health information technology, practice transformation, and Medicaid managed care. Current partners include:

  • AgeOptions
  • AllianceChicago
  • American Association of Diabetes Educators
  • American Medical Association
  • Chicago Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center
  • Chicago Housing Authority
  • Chicago Park District
  • Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Cook County Health and Hospital System
  • Goldstar Communications
  • Great Lakes Practice Transformation Network
  • Harmony/WellCare Health Plans
  • Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Illinois Society for the Prevention of Blindness
  • Innovative Wellness Solutions
  • Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Sinai Urban Health Institute
  • Telligen
  • West Cook YMCA

Building a Movement Towards Equity

Focusing on diabetes prevention, especially for Chicago’s low-income residents, is critical to advancing health equity and improving diabetes outcomes. Chicago CARES provides a unique opportunity to bring community organizations together in an effort to expand diabetes prevention services and tackle our city’s most pressing health inequities head on.